Planning legislation to restrict second homes in Purbeck delayed

The Purbeck Local Plan, which is intended to provide the framework for future planning decisions across the area, has been delayed while Dorset Council considers the responses to the latest public consultation.

The planning document was first conceived more than six years ago by the now defunct Purbeck District Council (PDC), to set out strategies for meeting the area’s need for more new homes while conserving the natural environment and beauty of Purbeck.


The area covered by the document is the old PDC region, which includes Bere Regis, Lytchett Matravers, Wareham, West Lulworth and Wool, as well as Swanage.

There are chapters on environment, housing, economy and local infrastructure.

Worth Matravers duck pond

Worth Matravers village

Restricting the sale of new properties as second homes

It also includes a policy for restricting the sale of new properties as second homes. The latest version of the plan includes this paragraph:

“New housing in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will only be supported where there is a restriction in perpetuity to ensure that such homes are occupied only as a principal residence. This policy will also be applied to changes of use to residential (p169).”

There’s also sections on renewable energy, sustainable drainage systems to reduce flooding, locations for future housing development with Wool and Moreton Station identified as key areas for more housing, and affordable housing requirements for developments of more than two homes.

Aerial view of Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle village

Hoped to be adopted in early 2021

It was anticipated that the latest consultation on the Purbeck Local Plan that ended on Friday 8th January 2021, would be the final consultation. There were earlier consultations carried out in 2015, 2016, 2018 and in the public hearing sessions held in 2019.

It was hoped that the Purbeck Local Plan would be passed to the Planning Inspector for final sign off before being adopted at the beginning of 2021.

Cottages in Lulworth

Row of houses in Lulworth

“We have requested additional time to consider the responses”

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said there is a short delay:

“The Purbeck Local Plan is near to the end of the preparation process. We have consulted on main modifications to the plan and are currently preparing comments on the responses, which will be passed to the inspector to consider. We have requested additional time to consider the responses, and this has led to a short delay.

“Once the inspector has considered all the responses, she will prepare her final report, though if she decides that the consultation has raised issues that need further examination, it is possible that she will ask for further hearings first.

“We do not yet have an anticipated date for the report but expect to receive her report and be able to adopt the plan later this year.”

View of houses in north Swanage

View over Swanage

Supersede the Swanage Local Plan

Once the Purbeck Local Plan is adopted, it will supersede the 2017 Swanage Local Plan, although much of it has been incorporated into the Purbeck Local Plan.

A local plan for the whole of the Dorset Council area is also in the early stages of consultation and will eventually supersede the Purbeck Local Plan. However, if the time taken for the Purbeck Local Plan to be adopted is an indicator, the Dorset Local Plan is many years away from coming to fruition.

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